Spanish publication Nacional have claimed that Arsenal are preparing to make an offer for Barcelona defender Alejandro Balde.
Balde, a product of the famed La Masia youth academy, has been with Barcelona since he was 8 years old and is enjoying a breakthrough season this term with the first team having starting 12 of Barca’s 15 matches in La Liga. His impressive performances earned him a call up to the Spanish national side for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where Balde appeared playing four times for his country.
Barcelona have been working on tying up a contract extension for Balde, as his current contract runs out in 18 months time, but so far have been unable to reach an agreement. Nacional claim that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu are looking to take advantage of the situation and hope to ‘count on’ Balde as part of their growing project.
Everyone is aware of Barca’s sensitive financial position, made even more critical after failing to get out of the group stages of the UEFA Champions League this season. And they’d be loathed to let a young star like Balde run down his contract to leave for free, which may open an opportunity for Arsenal to step in with an offer to buy the player instead.
Nacional insist that Arteta and Edu ‘would not think about it for a single second if he is available’ and that The Gunners are ‘preparing’ a €35m (£31m) offer for Balde, ‘that they trust is enough’ to persuade Barcelona to sell but ‘they must first convince’ the defender to move.
With uncertainty over a few of their own players’ contracts at the moment, it seems that Arsenal are scouring around to see what players they can pick up who are in similar positions. And Balde may be one of them.